Marriage, divorce and the gender issue

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT part of the gospel where Christ was asked about marriage and divorce and that also talked a little about man being created man and woman (cfr. Mt 19,3-12) gives us an occasion to clarify certain points that have become today’s hot button issues due to some ideological controversies.

We cannot deny that these days some ideologies are redefining things that are clearly set forth by our Christian faith and that can be clearly validated by an objective analysis of our human nature. One is that marriage can only be between one man and one woman, and that it is exclusive and is meant to be a lifetime commitment.

Why is that? It’s because for marriage to be true marriage, true love should be involved, a love that includes the use of the body and not just a spiritual love that can and should be given to as many persons as possible.

It’s an exclusive kind of love because once the body is given to another, it cannot be shared with anybody else. And if true love animates it, then everything is involved, and so there is a lifetime commitment involved.

Divorce is therefore a no-no. What can happen instead is what is known as nullity of marriage. That’s when it can be proven that the marriage was entered into with some impediments. Thus, marriage should be entered into with full knowledge of what it is and what it entails.

Marriage is also between a man and a woman because it is meant mainly for procreation, and not just enjoyment of some conveniences and pleasures, though these can also be reasons why people marry.

Of course, they should also realize that marriage has its own burdens for which they have to be ready to bear. It is also meant to raise a family where children are formed to be real persons and children of God as we are all meant to be—a tall order, indeed, but which can be borne as long as those concerned tackle this responsibility with God’s grace and their all-out effort.

Regarding the gender issue, it’s kind of funny that nowadays some people are finding it difficult to define what a woman is and what pronoun to assign to those who think they are women when biologically they are men.

Of course, given our human condition that is always a work in progress, to be consistent to one’s gender at birth requires some effort and work. Masculinity for men and femininity for women have to be taught and learned, knowing that given our human condition that is replete with weaknesses, inconsistencies can easily take place.

There can be same-sex attraction which can happen to anyone anytime, but if one is guided properly by a good understanding of our human nature and of our Christian faith, one would know what to do. It’s when one prefers to be guided simply by his own feelings and estimation of things that he or she or they can get into error.

Anyway, we all know that our human condition in this life requires constant vigilance and struggle precisely because of our human weakness and limitations. But we should try our best to follow the objective guide provided by natural law, moral law and the spiritual and supernatural law provided by our Christian faith.

In any case, charity should always prevail, especially in situations when we have to deal with controversial issues. Our differences and conflicts should not be reason to set aside charity. It’s precisely in situations like these that charity should be best lived.